It’s only been two days since the Sixers’ Game Seven Eastern Conference Semifinals loss to the Atlanta Hawks and while head coach Doc Rivers has certainly taken his share of blame, Simmons has far and away been the most-discussed part of the organization. From enraged Philly fans on Twitter to a bashing from the local media and plenty of analysis from the national sports pundits, it’s hard to scroll through any NBA news this week without seeing Simmons’ name pop up.
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During Tuesday morning’s edition of First Take on ESPN, Stephen A. Smith informed fellow panel member Kendrick Perkins and host Max Kellerman of some shocking developments on the situation between the Sixers and Ben Simmons.
‘He Doesn’t Work. He Doesn’t Listen. … He’s Constantly Babied.’
Smith preceded his Simmons announcement to Perkins and Kellerman by saying “I just received a text from somebody very, very close to the situation in Philadelphia about Ben Simmons. This is a quote, this is not me. This is them.”
Smith then dropped this doozy.
He doesn’t work, he doesn’t listen, and everyone around him is family, and he’s constantly babied.
After hearing the words from Smith, Kellerman argued that a good trade destination for Simmons would be the defending-NBA-champion Los Angeles Lakers.
“This is why I said, Perk, the Lakers would be the place for him. I think Magic (Johnson) is right,” Kellerman said. “It needs to come from a veteran player, that kind of mentorship. Someone like LeBron James could do it.”
Both Perkins and Smith weren’t having what Kellerman said though, with Perk arguing that Simmons had that kind of player for mentorship in three-time NBA-champion Danny Green on the Sixers, as well as veteran Dwight Howard. Both Green and Howard were teammates of LeBron’s last season when the Lakers defeated the Miami Heat in the 2020 NBA Finals inside the NBA Bubble.
Smith on Simmons: ‘[Philadelphia] Has Gotta Go in Another Direction’
At another point during the Simmons segment on First Take, Smith showcased his famous high-energy persona during a debate on whether the point guard’s noted shooting issues could be fixed.
“Four years Ben Simmons has been in the NBA. (His) game is the same,” Smith said. “He can go downhill, he can rebound, he’s an elite defender, but offensively, he does nothing different. He never developed his game.”
“Ben Simmons looks the same as he has always looked, which means that he never worked on his game, and if you didn’t work on your game, why should I trust you, if I’m Philly?” Smith asked. “You had four years. I gave you $30-plus million per (year) and you still didn’t work on your game. I’m sorry, you’ve gotta go in another direction.”